If you are 18 years of age or older and a United States citizen, you have the right to vote. Having these voting privileges gives us the power to elect leaders who represent our beliefs and make a contribution to our democracy. Our vote has an impact on every aspect of our lives, from health care and schools to security issues and construction projects. Now that the midterm elections have concluded, the next opportunity for millions of Americans to let their voices be heard is the 2020 presidential election.
If you have been convicted of a felony offense, you might be wondering if you are able to vote. Many ex-felons believe their voting privileges are automatically revoked once they spend time behind bars. However, many states—including California—allow felons to vote once certain stipulations are met.
In California, a felon’s voting rights are automatically restored after he/she has been released from prison or discharged from parole. If a felon is currently serving probation, he/she can still vote. On the other hand, a felon cannot vote if he/she is incarcerated or in a county jail under realignment.
Once you have been released from prison or completed parole, you need to register or re-register to vote in an upcoming election. This can be done by getting a voter registration form at the county elections office, your local DMV, or your local post office. The form is also available online to download. When the form is complete, sign and mail it to the county elections office
Another way to register is through the Secretary of State’s website. However, your application will be returned to you via mail in order for you to sign and mail back. If you register online, do so at least a month before the upcoming election date.
If you have been charged with a felony or interested in having your criminal record expunged, our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney at Appel & Morse can help you get the best results possible. We are dedicated to helping you protect your rights, which also means protecting your right to vote.
For more information about voter rights in California, contact us or schedule a free criminal consultation today.